Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fault Lines

Bad mood today. Must have slept in a bad position last night, and as a result I awoke with a nice sharp pain in my back, just to the left of my right shoulder blade, and a really stiff neck. Waking up in pain is never a good way to start a day.

Headed to the gym to stretch, and to work on my hand and foot techniques. I've got a test coming up in about a week and a half, and for some reason my technique seems to have fallen off in quality over the past week or so. I feel far less confident in stuff I've been doing for months than I did just two weeks ago. My hand technique combinations are feeling a bit awkward, while many of my foot technique combinations (especially ones that involve spin back kicks) feel downright sloppy. Two weeks ago I felt solid, and now I feel tentative at best. This was apparent last night, during class, when I felt I just couldn't pull my crap together. I did alright -- no truly egregious screw-ups, and I'd say everything was performed to a satisfactory, if uninspired, level. I was ... adequate.

But over the course of the evening I came to realize that try as I might, I just couldn't focus and control myself as well as I usually can. I wound up bailing out on sparring, mostly due to my right leg hurting quite a bit, but in no small part because I felt that sparring poorly would have just compounded the sense of "shoulda' just stayed home" that was starting to creep over me by the end of class. But of course, I instead felt like a bonehead for not sparring, so damned if I do, damned if I don't. I'm pretty good at walking myself into these Catch 22-like emotional states when I'm tending to go that way anyhow. Damn moodiness.

Anyhow, so, this morning was about getting to the gym, and stretching to relieve some of the back pain, and then working my techniques a bit to try to tighten them up. I managed to snag the back studio at the gym, which was dark and unoccupied, and worked line drills on hand and foot techniques and forms for about 45 minutes. And frankly, I did fine. Plenty of room for improvement, but I know the techniques and I can perform them as needed for testing. But what I also figured out is that it's my head that's getting in my way right now. And it's not a lack of confidence, and it's not frustration at my ability to perform.

Instead, I think that the lack of structure and stability in lots of other aspects of my life has started to permeate and affect all of the other aspects of my life, including my training. My job is a big source of this right now: Still no real indication of what our short- and long-term goals and prospects are. Still no real indication of whether the demands I laid out with my manager regarding new roles and responsibilities will be agreed to by his boss. Still no indication of what the plan is in regard to filling the positions of all of the folks that have left over the past month. And still no indication that these guys have realized just how badly they've screwed the pooch in handling this situation. Just an ongoing atmosphere of dull, buzzy tedium and frustration.

And emotionally the workplace atmosphere is getting under my skin as well. Too many familiar faces are no longer in the room. People I'd worked with for 3, 4 5 years or more, who I saw everyday, are simply not around. And given the overall lack of direction and activity right now there isn't much happening to distract folks, myself included, from the simple fact that the feel of the room has changed radically. The personality makeup of our group has been seriously destabilized, and it's going to take a while to feel comfortable again. This becomes particularly obvious during lunch, when awkward silences cast a glaring light on just how much the usual conversational ebb and flow has been interrupted and changed.

Things like this really tend to get to me over time.

On top of this, home has been chaotic lately as well. The kids had spring break, and we've had Christine's parents visiting for about a week or so, and as a result all the usual patterns of our home life are disrupted as well. It's not that I feel like having house guests is a bad thing, but it definitely takes all of our usual schedules and patterns and ways of doing things and throws them into disarray. And given the lack of stability and consistency at work these days I would really benefit from having my home-life feel more same-old/same-old. Unfortunately, not gonna happen just yet. Thing will get back to normal soon, but in the meantime home schedules will tend more toward the random and our patterns and schedules will tend toward the "dynamic."

And well, with that much instability in both work and home, I think it just makes sense that it's affecting my dojang time as well. This stuff all interlocks, and I much as I wish I could turn off the negative parts of the things that take up the vast majority of my time each day when I get my hour or two of training time in, in some ways that's just unrealistic, especially when they are so consistent and persistent and unresolved. So, my ability to focus and concentrate are being hampered as a result. It's really pretty simple.

The trick, I think, is to not let this frustrate me too much, to not read too much into this. I know my technique is better than my performance over the past 3-5 days would indicate. I also know I tend to be a perfectionist, and I tend to judge my own performance far too harshly. I have pretty good reasons to not be at 100% right now -- I need to remember to let myself off the hook a bit every now and then. Every day doesn't have to be My Best Day Yet.

Mood: Cranky
Now Playing: Siouxsie and the Banshees, "Twice Upon a Time"


Walt said...

Hang in there, buddy. The company will be gone, the kids will be back in a regular routine with school and stuff and hopefully work will get better. You need the cranky times to help you appreciate the good times.


Dane said...

I think you're on the right track with letting yourself off the hook a little. Just enjoy your family even more than you usually do and coddle yourself for a week or so .. then you should be ready to go out and kick ass again.

Gregg P. said...

Thanks you two! Yeah, things have settled back down now. Our guests wrapped up their visit yesterday morning, and now home life is settling into a more "normal" pattern, and I had a fantastic evening of training last night. Patience is key.

Now, if only work would settle down a bit -- we have a big meeting Monday which may finally resolve some of our questions. We shall see....